Lyft Review: Can You Really Make $20-$30 an Hour?

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Need a little extra cash? If you have a car and a little spare time, you might be able to make money by becoming a Lyft driver.

Lyft has been on the rise in recent years and is a major part of the side gig economy, along with its primary rival, Uber. There’s a low barrier to entry: A decent driving record and a clean late-model car.

Check out this Lyft review to see if becoming a Lyft driver is the right move for you.

Lyft review

Driving with Lyft is probably one the of the easiest ways to earn extra money. You set up with the Lyft Driver app, enter your information, and in a couple of days you’re on your way to making up to $20 to $30 an hour.

Lyft has a reputation for being friendly, welcoming, and trustworthy, according to a recent survey performed by Ipsos. In fact, the Ipsos survey indicates Lyft has a better reputation than other ridesharing services. And the industry as a whole is strong, with some people giving up their cars in favor of using services like Lyft and Uber.

If you want to earn money by capitalizing on this growing trend — or even if you just want to profit from the fact that people need rides to the airport when they’re traveling, or from a bar or party when they’ve been drinking — Lyft can help.

How Lyft works

Lyft allows riders to hail a driver with their phones. As the driver, you receive a notification when someone nearby needs a ride. You can choose whether to accept the fare or not. If you do accept the fare, you are given turn-by-turn directions using the navigation app of your choice.

Riders have their payment information saved in the app, and they are charged automatically at the end of the ride. Every step of the way, riders and drivers are kept informed. Drivers use the touchscreen to indicate when they arrive to pick up a fare, and touch the screen again when they pull away with the rider in the car.


Image credit: Lyft

Just as they receive instructions for picking up fares, drivers also receive navigation to a rider’s destination. Once the rider is dropped off, the driver taps the screen, and Lyft charges the rider. You can see how much you earned before tip, including if you received a bonus for driving during a busy time.

On top of that, you have a chance to rate the rider. If the experience was unpleasant, Lyft makes an effort to avoid pairing you with that rider again.

How to be a Lyft driver

Image credit: Lyft

You don’t have to do anything to collect money — Lyft takes care of the transaction, including collecting a tip from the driver. The Lyft app makes it easy for drivers to leave you a tip, and you easily see your earnings in the app.

How to be a Lyft driver

If you want to become a Lyft driver, you need to meet certain requirements. Here is what Lyft expects from its drivers:

  • Be at least 21 years old.
  • Own a smartphone.
  • Have at least a year of U.S. driving experience and an in-state U.S. driver’s license.
  • Have an in-state car insurance with your name on the policy.
  • Keep in-state plates on your car and a current car registration.
  • Complete a vehicle inspection.
  • Own a car that has four doors and is 2005 or newer (though for some cities there might be different requirements).

You can’t just start driving immediately, though. Lyft will perform background and DMV checks before approving you. On top of that, Lyft will verify your insurance. When I applied for Lyft, the process took about two days, but it can sometimes take longer.

Start by going to the Lyft website and filling in basic information.


Image credit: Lyft

Once you have that information entered, you need to download the Lyft app or the Lyft Driver app and go from there. You can also connect your Lyft Driver account to your rider account. In fact, it’s easy to switch from being a rider to being a driver. While you can make the shift inside your Lyft rider app, though, I find it easier to use the Lyft Driver app.

Lyft takes you step-by-step through completing the signup process. You will need to include your Social Security number and answer other questions about where you live and your driving record. Pictures of your insurance card, car registration, driver’s license, and your face are required.

become a lyft driver

You will be prompted for each item, making signup easy and quick. I found it easier to take photos with my camera outside the app and then select “Choose existing” to submit my documentation, rather than take a photo at each step. Lyft takes you through what is needed for an image to be acceptable, so make sure that your photos have all the required information legible.

As you continue to drive for Lyft, you will have to update your information. My insurance recently renewed, and until I take a picture of my new insurance card and send it to Lyft, I am unable to pick up any new fares.

Once everything is submitted and verified, Lyft will notify you — and you can start making money.

How much do Lyft drivers make?

What you make driving Lyft depends largely on where you live and how much you plan to drive. Use the calculator on the Lyft website to figure out your potential earnings.

Lyft review

Image credit: Lyft

My expectation of driving 20 hours a week leads to the claim that I could make $400 per week, or $20 an hour. In some of the busier cities, though, Lyft offers a guarantee that you will make $30 an hour. Depending on where you live, this could be a great way to ensure that you make money driving for Lyft.

You can also make money from getting signup and referral bonuses. I received $20 because I used someone else’s referral code. The person who referred me also received a bonus when I started driving. Additionally, someone else signing up for Lyft using my referral code would mean more money in my pocket.

New driver bonuses are also possible. However, you need to give a set amount of rides within a specific period. For my area, Lyft required me to give 50 rides within 30 days to earn a $100 signup bonus. I didn’t come close to reaching that goal.

However, the $20 an hour wasn’t too far off — at least for one day.

How much do Lyft drivers make

I chose to sign up for Lyft just ahead of my town’s Beerfest. As a result, I gave 10 rides over a period of six hours. Lyft is transparent about tips, referrals, and fees. Plus, there is an Express Pay option that allows you to get your money deposited immediately into your account (there is a fee of 50 cents per request). As you can see, if I subtract the $20 referral, I made $28.15 an hour. Not bad.

However, it’s important to note that some days are busier than others. I made a good amount due to a special event. Most of the time, I was lucky to give two rides a day. You can go online anytime you want, as it fits your schedule, and I kept my availability open while I ran errands and worked.

I could make more money, though, if I were willing to “Go Online” during peak times in my town. Pay attention to the times people usually take rides. In my locality, the busiest times for Lyft are between 11 p.m. and 1 a.m., to take bar customers home. Other times are far less busy. In fact, other than Beerfest, I’m lucky to make $20 in a day, much less $20 an hour.

However, if you live in a city with fewer independent drivers or more activities, you might see higher demand. Living near a major airport can also provide you with a way to make more money as a Lyft driver. My location in the middle of nowhere doesn’t help my cause.

Finally, you can increase the tips you receive by being friendly, keeping your vehicle clean, and being knowledgeable about your area. My recommendations for good places to eat (and even the best fishing hole along the river!) have led to higher tips from grateful riders.

Lyft customer service

As a driver, it’s easy to get help from Lyft. Tapping your face on the home screen will pull up a menu of options that can connect you to the information you seek.

Lyft review

You can see information about your vehicle, any scheduled pickups, and change the settings, including your address and where you want payments sent. If you need further assistance, you can select the “Help” button to be taken to where you can get answers to questions or even find roadside assistance.

Lyft partners with Allstate for roadside assistance, so you can take advantage of that if you’re on the clock. Your own car insurance might also provide you with roadside assistance, so check your policy. Lyft also has a Platinum program though Accelerate which allows you free roadside assistance.

On top of that, Lyft also offers its own rideshare insurance policies. You can report an accident by using your app, although it takes a couple of steps to get there. From the “Roadside Assistance” feature in your app, under “Help,” you can navigate to a page that features a “Call Me” button. Click it, and a Lyft specialist will contact you to help you through the steps.

It’s also possible to practice giving a ride with the “Ride Walkthrough” and report left behind items in the “Lost & Found.” If you want to connect with a Lyft representative, there is an email form you can fill out online or on the app.

Is driving for Lyft right for you?

Weigh the pros and cons to decide if driving for Lyft is right for you. If you have extra time on the weekend or even during the week when you’re not at work, it might make sense to sign up.

However, if you live someplace where demand for Lyft is low, it might not be the best use of your time. Instead, check out Student Loan Hero’s list of side hustles that require little involvement to find something that works better for your situation.

Interested in refinancing student loans?

Here are the top 6 lenders of 2018!
LenderVariable APREligible Degrees 
Check out the testimonials and our in-depth reviews!
1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

To qualify, you must be a U.S. citizen or possess a 10-year (non-conditional) Permanent Resident Card, reside in a state Earnest lends in, and satisfy our minimum eligibility criteria. You may find more information on loan eligibility here: Not all applicants will be approved for a loan, and not all applicants will qualify for the lowest rate. Approval and interest rate depend on the review of a complete application.

Earnest fixed rate loan rates range from 3.89% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). Variable rate loan rates range from 2.47% APR (with Auto Pay) to 5.87% APR (with Auto Pay). For variable rate loans, although the interest rate will vary after you are approved, the interest rate will never exceed 8.95% for loan terms 10 years or less. For loan terms of 10 years to 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 9.95%. For loan terms over 15 years, the interest rate will never exceed 11.95% (the maximum rates for these loans). Earnest variable interest rate loans are based on a publicly available index, the one month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). Your rate will be calculated each month by adding a margin between 1.82% and 5.50% to the one month LIBOR. The rate will not increase more than once per month. Earnest rate ranges are current as of Month/Day/Year, and are subject to change based on market conditions and borrower eligibility.

Auto Pay discount: If you make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic, monthly deduction from a savings or checking account, your rate will be reduced by one quarter of one percent (0.25%) for so long as you continue to make automatic, electronic monthly payments. This benefit is suspended during periods of deferment and forbearance.

The information provided on this page is updated as of 08/21/18. Earnest reserves the right to change, pause, or terminate product offerings at any time without notice. Earnest loans are originated by Earnest Operations LLC. California Finance Lender License 6054788. NMLS # 1204917. Earnest Operations LLC is located at 302 2nd Street, Suite 401N, San Francisco, CA 94107. Terms and Conditions apply. Visit, email us at, or call 888-601-2801 for more information on ourstudent loan refinance product.

© 2018 Earnest LLC. All rights reserved. Earnest LLC and its subsidiaries, including Earnest Operations LLC, are not sponsored by or agencies of the United States of America.

2 Important Disclosures for Laurel Road.

Laurel Road Disclosures

Savings example: average savings calculated based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were disclosed. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.

Application detail: 5 minutes indicates typical time it takes to complete application with applicant information readily available. It does not include time taken to provide underwriting decision or funding of the loan.

Instant rates mean a delivery of personalized rates for those individuals who provide sufficient information to return a rate. For instant rates a soft credit pull will be conducted, which will not affect your credit score. To proceed with an application, a hard credit pull will be required, which may affect your credit score.

Total savings calculated by aggregating individual average savings across total borrower population from 9/2013 to 12/2017. Individual average savings calculation based on single loans refinanced from 9/2013 to 12/2017 where borrowers’ previous rates were provided. Assumes same loan terms for previous and refinanced loans, and payments made to maturity with no prepayments. Actual savings for individual loans vary based on loan balance, interest rates, and other factors.

3 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

SoFi Disclosures

  1. Student loan Refinance:Fixed rates from 3.899% APR to 7.804% APR (with AutoPay). Variable rates from 2.470% APR to 6.990% APR (with AutoPay). Interest rates on variable rate loans are capped at either 8.95% or 9.95% depending on term of loan. See APR examples and terms. Lowest variable rate of 2.470% APR assumes the current index rate derived from the 1-month LIBOR of 2.08% plus 0.64% margin minus 0.25% ACH discount. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. If approved for a loan, the fixed or variable interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, and the term of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. For the SoFi variable rate loan, the 1-month LIBOR index will adjust monthly and the loan payment will be re-amortized and may change monthly. APRs for variable rate loans may increase after origination if the LIBOR index increases. The SoFi 0.25% AutoPay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. *To check the rates and terms you qualify for, SoFi conducts a soft credit inquiry. Unlike hard credit inquiries, soft credit inquiries (or soft credit pulls) do not impact your credit score. Soft credit inquiries allow SoFi to show you what rates and terms SoFi can offer you up front. After seeing your rates, if you choose a product and continue your application, we will request your full credit report from one or more consumer reporting agencies, which is considered a hard credit inquiry. Hard credit inquiries (or hard credit pulls) are required for SoFi to be able to issue you a loan. In addition to requiring your explicit permission, these credit pulls may impact your credit score.
  2. Terms and Conditions Apply. SOFI RESERVES THE RIGHT TO MODIFY OR DISCONTINUE PRODUCTS AND BENEFITS AT ANY TIME WITHOUT NOTICE. To qualify, a borrower must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident in an eligible state and meet SoFi’s underwriting requirements. Not all borrowers receive the lowest rate. To qualify for the lowest rate, you must have a responsible financial history and meet other conditions. If approved, your actual rate will be within the range of rates listed above and will depend on a variety of factors, including term of loan, a responsible financial history, years of experience, income and other factors. Rates and Terms are subject to change at anytime without notice and are subject to state restrictions. SoFi refinance loans are private loans and do not have the same repayment options that the federal loan program offers such as Income Based Repayment or Income Contingent Repayment or PAYE. Licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp., NMLS # 1121636. (

4 Important Disclosures for LendKey.

LendKey Disclosures

Refinancing via is only available for applicants with qualified private education loans from an eligible institution. Loans that were used for exam preparation classes, including, but not limited to, loans for LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, and GRE preparation, are not eligible for refinancing with a lender via If you currently have any of these exam preparation loans, you should not include them in an application to refinance your student loans on this website. Applicants must be either U.S. citizens or Permanent Residents in an eligible state to qualify for a loan. Certain membership requirements (including the opening of a share account and any applicable association fees in connection with membership) may apply in the event that an applicant wishes to accept a loan offer from a credit union lender. Lenders participating on reserve the right to modify or discontinue the products, terms, and benefits offered on this website at any time without notice. LendKey Technologies, Inc. is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, any educational institution.

5 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

  1. Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900). The following table displays the estimated monthly payment, total interest, and Annual Percentage Rates (APR) for a $10,000 loan. The Annual Percentage Rate (APR) shown for each in-school loan product reflects the accruing interest, the effect of one-time capitalization of interest at the end of a deferment period, a 2% origination fee, and the applicable Repayment Plan. All loans are eligible for a 0.25% reduction in interest rate by agreeing to automatic payment withdrawals once in repayment, which is reflected in the interest rates and APRs displayed. Variable rates may increase after consummation. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 2.08% effective July 25, 2018.

6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

  1. Education Refinance Loan Rate DisclosureVariable rate, based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of October 1, 2018, the one-month LIBOR rate is 2.22%. Variable interest rates range from 2.72%-8.32% (2.72%-8.32% APR) and will fluctuate over the term of the borrower’s loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Fixed interest rates range from 3.75%-8.69% (3.75%-8.69% APR) based on applicable terms, level of degree earned and presence of a cosigner. Lowest rates shown require application with a cosigner, are for eligible, creditworthy applicants with a graduate level degree, require a 5-year repayment term and include our Loyalty discount and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. The maximum variable rate on the Education Refinance Loan is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%. Subject to additional terms and conditions, and rates are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change. Please note: Due to federal regulations, Citizens Bank is required to provide every potential borrower with disclosure information before they apply for a private student loan. The borrower will be presented with an Application Disclosure and an Approval Disclosure within the application process before they accept the terms and conditions of their loan.
  2. Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer with the Education Refinance Loan. Borrowers should carefully review their current benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans and replace those with the benefits of the Education Refinance Loan. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision at, including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
  3. Citizens Bank Education Refinance Loan Eligibility: Eligible applicants may not be currently enrolled. Applicants with an Associate’s degree or with no degree must have made at least 12 qualifying payments after leaving school. Qualifying payments are the most recent on time and consecutive payments of principal and interest on the loans being refinanced. Primary borrowers must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident or resident alien with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. Resident aliens must apply with a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The cosigner (if applicable) must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid U.S. Social Security Number residing in the United States. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a cosigner will be required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at anytime. Interest rate ranges subject to change. Education Refinance Loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/consumer credit agreement, verification of application information, certification of borrower’s student loan amount(s) and highest degree earned.
  4. Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
  5. Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
  6. Co-signer Release: Borrowers may apply for co-signer release after making 36 consecutive on-time payments of principal and interest. For the purpose of the application for co-signer release, on-time payments are defined as payments received within 15 days of the due date. Interest only payments do not qualify. The borrower must meet certain credit and eligibility guidelines when applying for the co-signer release. Borrowers must complete an application for release and provide income verification documents as part of the review. Borrowers who use deferment or forbearance will need to make 36 consecutive on-time payments after reentering repayment to qualify for release. The borrower applying for co-signer release must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. If an application for co-signer release is denied, the borrower may not reapply for co-signer release until at least one year from the date the application for co-signer release was received. Terms and conditions apply.
  7. Estimated average savings amount is based on 14,659 Education Refinance Loan customers who saved on loans between August 1, 2017 and July 31, 2018. The calculation is derived by averaging monthly savings across Education Refinance Loan customers whose payment amounts decreased after refinancing, calculated by taking the monthly payment prior to refinancing minus the monthly payment after refinancing. We excluded monthly savings from customers that exceeded $4,375 and were lower than $20 to minimize risk of data error skewing the savings amounts. Savings will vary based on interest rates, balances and remaining repayment term of loans to be refinanced. Borrower’s overall repayment amount may be higher than the loans they are refinancing even if monthly payments are lower.

2.47% – 6.99%3Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit SoFi
2.47% – 5.87%1Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Earnest
2.47% – 8.03%4Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Lendkey
2.95% – 6.37%2Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Laurel Road
2.48% – 6.25%5Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit CommonBond
2.72% – 8.32%6Undergrad
& Graduate
Visit Citizens
Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality and will make a positive impact in your life. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print understand what you are buying, and consult a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time. Please do your homework and let us know if you have any questions or concerns.